Every day I try to appraise my mental health so I know how my body and mind are functioning. It’s the same as when I’m driving a car. I want to know if the oil temperature is right. I want to know if the tires are inflated properly. I want to know how fast the car is going. I also want to know the same things for how my mind is working.
The key is doing in this consistently. Then when things are out of alignment you can seek help to put things back in alignment. Be open to receiving help putting things back in alignment. When things are working properly , try to keep doing the work to keep them working properly.
If you want to appraise how you’re doing at any moment, you can use this tool for yourself. This is a really useful tool that I’ve used from other people. I look at people who have peaceful lives full of serenity and joy. People who are happy notice their current mental state and when it’s out of sync they do something about it.
The prerequisite for doing this is having an understanding of what’s normal for you. You must be willing to work both when it’s normal to keep things normal and when things are out of sync.
For me, this is a two-part test. The first part is what is my definition of normal? I give this to you just from a regular person’s point of view. I find that I learn best from people who are just like me. I find I have a hard time learning from people who are more educated because I have a hard time relating to them. I can relate to an average person talking about their average life.
My main problem for most of my life was not having a definition for normal. I didn’t have a valid comparison to compare my mental state to.
A normal, healthy, peaceful serene mind works like this:
Everything is fine as it is. Other people are loving and trusting. The world is a beautiful place. I’m doing what I need to right now. I am enough. I am good enough just how I am. I have areas I can improve and do better in. Other people are all doing their best just like me. I’m doing my best. There’s no need to worry about the past or the future because all of life is right here, right now. My purpose for living is to serve and be useful to other people.
These, to me, are what make up a normal, healthy peaceful human mental function. These I see in people who are peaceful and having happy lives. Those are the mental routines they share. Those are the things they share that go on in their mind that they’ve adapted because I want that, too. It’s simple. If you want what someone else has, you must do what they do. The trick is to do everything they do your way. You must do it in the same spirit that they do it, but do it your way.
Now, how does that contrast? Most of my life, I thought that an ideal mental state is one of being high or euphoric.
Life is great, everything is awesome. I’m on top of the world and I’m better than everyone else.
That was my target for comparison. Anytime I wasn’t in euphoria I felt like I was depressed or down or not good enough. That frequently was my judgment.
Life isn’t good enough, people aren’t good enough. People are stupid. People are mean. Life is wrong. Politics are wrong. If everyone else would just do what I wanted, then I would be happy.
I hope you can see the difference there between functioning that’s normal and full of suffering. If you can see the difference, then you can look in at your current mind state and see how things are running. This is done in a loving peaceful way. I try to look and if I driver pulls out in front of me and cuts my off, my first thought is F you! Then the self-diagnosis is more out of curiosity. That caused a little bit of upset. What’s going on here?
That element was missing from my life. I didn’t have a loving understanding look at what was going on. I consistently would just buy into whatever thought I had and I would curse and go along with that. Then I would realize I don’t want to choose that attitude, I want to be better than that.
Today, there’s some sort of loving peaceful judgment that oversees what’s going on. It makes things a bit funny, even when I’m depressed or frustrated. I can look from an objective point of view that things there’s humor in everything. I don’t buy into what’s going on. If you’re a bit anxious, what’s the cause of that? Develop that sense of honest appraisal.
The easiest way, if you’re not used to doing that with yourself. I bet you are used to doing it with everyone else. I almost guarantee you can walk into a room and point out everyone else and tell me exactly what’s going on with them. Most people seem to have the ability to instantly see what’s going on with another person. Yet, there’s often this big blind spot with what’s going on with themselves. The reason for me was contempt prior to investigation. I thought I already knew what was going on in here. I thought I already was aware of what’s going on inside so I stopped looking. When you think you know everything that’s going on with you, it’s hard to figure out anything new.
For example I see people that say they have depression and anxiety. They own those things as if those were the only things that go on inside of them. I get depressed, I get anxious sometimes and yet, I get a lot of other things too. I’m happy, I’m peaceful. I’m apathetic, I’m restless. I get irritable. I get discontent. I get jumpy I get excited. I celebrate.
There’s a lot of things that go on inside a whole person and sometimes these things can all go on at once. I can get anxious excited happy, frustrated all at the same time and all in the same moment.
I look at what’s going on inside and don’t deny things that go don’t go along with my definition of who I am. I used to see the things that I wanted to see that agreed with me and I’d dismiss anything else. For example, I didn’t like to be thought of as a person who was afraid. So if I saw fear inside I denied it. I would say I’m not afraid and I’d try to project that to the world. When I see fear going on, I’d ask myself why am I afraid? Is it because I don’t have faith?
I ask questions based on what I see and I don’t dismiss it. When I see a harmful thought, I ask myself what’s going on with it instead of rejecting it. Rejecting it perpetuates the thought going on or not. Today, I’m grateful that I’ve learned how a peaceful human being functions. I’ve developed the ability to look inside what’s going and on and see how far I’ve deviated from that.
The original definition of sin, was to miss the mark in terms of archery. Today, I look at the mark that I’m aiming for is to be in a peaceful state. I am shooting arrows at that mark in each moment and I try to be the impartial observer and see where the arrow lands. I had to ask for help to be healed to stop my negative thinking because I was programmed to talk down to myself. I have been healed where I can now sit back and watch impartially most of the time.
I pray today that I can be the impartial observer who watches my behavior in a loving peaceful place. I pray today to notice when I’m both hitting the mark and when I’m missing the mark. I pray to be motivated to take the next shot at hitting the mark again and do the next best thing no matter what. I pray that this is useful for you today to get curious about what’s going on inside you. Thank you so much for reading this. I’m honored you’ve spent this time with me. I hope you have a great day today.